Thursday, July 4, 2013

Even better still

Last October is best noted for the red letter day that marked history as pre and post-ISL (inside loo).  True, post-ISL saw a loo resplendent with walls and, most excitingly, a door and ceiling.  But it still required manual intervention of the type not usually associated with inside amenities. Namely, because there was no running water a flush could only be orchestrated by carefully upending a bucket into the bowl.  Effective, yes, but still not the full ISL experience for which we yearned.
But with fanfare and brightly coloured bunting I am proud to announce that ISL day has now been overtaken by an even more significant paradigm shifting, life changing occurrence – the first non bucket powered flush!
June 28 will now be remembered with reverence and hushed tones as FISL day (flushing inside loo).  Though perhaps I need to reconsider the acronym.
What has brokered this shift from 1 star to 1.5 star accommodation?  The installation of our 110,000 litre galvanised water tank and a gift from God, some 150mm of rain.  Next challenge? Well, hot water would be nice.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Plumbing 101

A consistent design theme for the house has been to give the impression of an old place that’s been “modernised”. That’s why, for example, the electrical wiring runs through visible copper piping attached to the exposed beams. So when it came to the plumbing we wanted to continue the paradigm by making it look like running water had been added long after the house was built. 
The first plumber we spoke couldn’t get past that we wanted to see all the ugly pipes. But the second bloke, Phil, understood exactly where we were coming from. As a result, the loo wall is a work of art with a wonderful array of copper water pipes, bends and connections show.  Everything needed for the shower, basin and bath in the bathroom on the other side of the wall is on view when you spend a penny. 
After all, Phil’s workmanship is brilliant and far to good to be hidden in a wall.
Next job – a really big water tank.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Master Returns

In 1996 my wife, Nette, our two girls, Sam (5yrs) and Georgii (3yrs) and I travelled to Gifford, Scotland.  The following 12 months was an adventure in a Scottish village with its small school, 200 year old church and arguably the best antique restoration and fine furniture making school in the world.
We had a ball learning a new language, Sam even won the local Robbie Burns poetry recital competition with her newly acquired near perfect Scottish lilt.  Nette picked up some groovy dance moves at her Scottish country dancing lessons and the local kindergarten named their class budgie after Georgii. As for me, I learnt about shellac and sharpening, mahogany and mortises, veneers, Victoriana and vices – to name just a few things.
Roll forward 16 years and the grand master of the school, Anselm Fraser, asks to visit our construction site near the South Coast.  Would he approve?  Would the student’s skills meet the teacher’s expectations?  Would the design, cabinetry,lead lighting and plain hard work be acceptable?
The answer was an emphatic “yes” as Anslem stepped from the car and declared, “now that’s a piece of furniture”.  What a wonderful lunch we shared as we reminisced about 1996, swapped notes about our local councils’ building regulations, and planned the next stages of our croft and Anselm’s next project, a straw bale castle.